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Sallyn must have managed to speak privately with the Weyrleaders at some point the evening of the Hatching because all but one of the female Candidates who didn't Impress did stay at the Weyr after all.  It was rumored that the one who left was relatively young and a little too troubled by the how different life was in a Weyr compared to a Hold - that happened sometimes.

It was obvious that some parents that night left in a huff and H'lania was reminded of the fact that S'ligar really was a good Weyrleader - despite the fact that she was again overlooked the take guests back to their Holds and Halls that evening.

It didn't bother her too much though for Sallyn provided plenty of distraction - much to her embarrassment and K'land's continued enjoyment.  H'lania simply couldn't take her eyes off the girl that night or in the days that followed; whenever she spotted the latest queen rider with her lovely golden Thalleth, she couldn't help but pause and sigh.  

Her pining wasn't lost on many and T'zan swaggered up to her one day and said stingingly, "Just because you ride a bronze doesn't mean you have any chance with her."

Of course that was true and H'lania forced herself to flush angrily in silence as the arrogant rider laughed and continued on his way; not that he had much hope either as Sallyn avoided him like a herdbeast avoids a hungry dragon - which was likely why he felt it necessary to throw a barb her way.  Every bronze rider in the Weyr though had taken quite the interest in Sallyn and H'lania was careful to keep her distance.  The girl deserved a good, strong man in her weyr and being small, Praneth had little hope of catching Thalleth when she rose to mate in a couple Turns.

None of those truths kept Sallyn out of H'lania's thoughts however or stopped her from taking little detours just to catch a glimpse of the girl as she embarked on her training to become a queen rider.

Evenings were easily the best way to be in the same room as Sallyn without being obvious about it since most evenings the girl played and sang long into the night.  Of course just about every other man in the Weyr was there too for the same reasons H'lania showed up, but equally as many came just to hear her sing.  It was obvious by the way she strolled casually through the audience while effortlessly strumming any tune anyone called out that Sallyn loved performing and the Weyr was happy to give her any excuse to exercise her talent.

It was the one thing H'lania could look forward to at the end of a long day as life wasn't getting any better in the fighting Wings.  S'ligar still liked to single her out to vent any anger or frustrations that may have built up during a Fall but she really was becoming quite the good dragonrider and he was finding less and less to demerit her for.  Some of the things were starting to get silly - like the one day he pointed out her goggles weren't on straight.  

It meant he was beginning to need to turn to someone else and that someone turned out being T'zan more than once.  His arrogance and notoriously reckless flying was finally catching up with him and so he was the occasional recipient of harsh words instead of H'lania.  It was rather satisfying seeing the cocky idiot getting taken down a notch or two; really the fact that he hadn't gotten seriously Scored yet was something of a tension-riddled miracle in the Wings.

As time passed though, the music-filled evenings in the Lower Caverns slowly became less of a pleasant distraction and more like an aching frustration.  Sallyn would smile at her and occasionally even wink, but H'lania was too reluctant to approach her - even to casually chat - during the day lest she come across as the hopeless fool she felt like.

H'lania found the best way to deal with her tumultuous feelings for Sallyn were to be away from the Weyr as much as possible.  If she wasn't fighting Thread or performing some assigned task - which was rare as the Weyrleader didn't seem to trust her with any job (not even standing watch!) - she and Praneth flew out to the mountains.  She hunted him exclusively in the wilds these days and sometimes if the weather was nice enough she even forsook her weyr for a bed under the stars nestled among the warm legs of her beloved bronze.

Her friends - few as they were - soon got used to her prolonged absences and stopped asking questions.  This level of solitude was perhaps not her preferred method of existence, but it was better than the pains she suffered at the Weyr.

She especially made sure to make herself scarce the day Kilanath glowed brightly and Falga sent all the other queens away.  Praneth was old enough now be interested in a mating flight and H'lania wanted nothing to do with it!  

She loaded up her day pack and had Praneth take them to a favorite deserted island off the far western coast of the High Reaches Peninsula.  There were plenty of good thermals and air currents for Praneth to play in and burn off some energy since bronzes sensed the onset of a queen's mating heat sometimes a full day or two before she actually took flight.

It was a pleasant enough day and H'lania could enjoy leaning back on the sandy beach in the warm sun while Praneth splashed in the ocean and played with hovering just above the water's surface.

She was rather startled when he let out a bugle of alarm and said to her, Someone comes!

And a moment later that someone came in from between in the form of a half-grown golden dragon with an ecstatic rider on her back.

H'lania was on her feet in a moment staring dumbfounded as Thalleth landed lightly on the beach and Sallyn dismounted excitedly.  She walked right up to H'lania, tearing off her helmet and goggles, her face alight with triumph.  "I did it!" she declared enthusiastically.  "I found you!"

"How?  What?  How did you get here?!" H'lania stammered out.  Thalleth had already dove into the water and was frolicking with youthful abandon.  Praneth wasn't exactly sure what to make of the pair's sudden appearance either, but he seemed to be recovering quicker than his rider for soon he was slashing around as well.

Sallyn was unperturbed by H'lania's confusion.  "I just asked Thalleth if she could find Praneth; she said she could, so we went," she explained casually as she removed her gloves and unzipped her jacket.

"That's, that's not very safe," H'lania stammered out.

"What do you mean?" she asked, still without much concern.  "You riders do it all the time during a Fall."

"The place we're going to is given to us by someone whose already there.  We don't go find them if we don't have a good idea ourselves!"

"Oh.  Well it worked anyway," and now her attention was on the dragons but H'lania was satisfied to see the possible implications creep a little across the girl's face.  That really was a stupid and unsafe stunt especially for a queen rider!

"Umm, don't take this the wrong way," H'lania started, not wanting to come across as lighting into the girl.  "But why are you here?  Thalleth is still too young to be caught up in a mating flight."  And honestly, she'd been away from the Weyr so much lately, she hadn't realized the dragonets were old enough now to fly and go between without chaperons!

Sallyn grimaced and turned back to H'lania.  "Falga told me as much and I was really kind of hoping I'd enjoy it from a spectator's point of view but just disgusted me.  I mean it was beautiful, don't get me wrong - I've never seen Kilanath so bold or Diona so sure of herself; but...I don't know...seeing her surrounded by all the bronze riders, knowing one of them would bed with her and she wouldn't even know who until just bothered me.  I had to get out of there and clear my head," she sighed with resignation and looked back out to sea where the innocent antics of the two dragons was raising a thick foam on the waves.  "I know it'll be me some day and I know I won't care when that happens, but still..." she stopped.

H'lania offered up in the silence that followed, "I felt the same way when I thought I'd Impress a queen or green."

"Really?" Sallyn replied with relief.  "It's not just me then?"

"No; and it's one of the reasons I took Praneth far from the Weyr today.  I just can't stomach the idea of participating in a mating flight."

"Oh," and Sallyn looked suddenly crestfallen.  "So you won' won't be there when Thalleth rises?"

The question struck H'lania like a blow to the gut but she tried not to read into it too much and asked hesitantly, "Do you want me to be there?"

Sallyn looked straight at her, tears lightly rimming her eyelids, her chin trembling slightly.  "Yes," she whispered.  She started to reach out her hand as though to take H'lania's, but she quickly drew it back, uncertain.

H'lania ended the dilemma by taking the girl quickly in her arms and kissing her deeply and passionately.  Their dragons trumpeted with the joy the two riders felt.
This is a Dragonriders of Pern fanfic that takes place two Turns after the book "Moreta".
Please see the 1st Chapter write-up (link at bottom) for more details.

Sappy? Perhaps, but I like it. Hope you do too ;)

Updated every Friday (or somewhere there-abouts)

New to the story? Start from the beginning:
Chapter 1: [link]

Go back to the previous Chapter:
Chapter 14: [link]

Or continue to the next Chapter:
Chapter 16: [link]
Add a Comment:
Collon28 Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm probably not too far into Dragonflight yet, but the impression I get is that the queen never flies until mating and then that's that. Does that change later for Ramoth?
KiusLady Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Yes, Lessa and F'lar's time in Pern history is the darkest of dark ages for this world when a queen is such a rare and valuable dragon that she's treated with kid gloves to the point of absurdity. Things were far different before their time (where my story takes place) as well as after...
Collon28 Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
That's what a long interval will do to a society apparently.
KiusLady Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Collon28 Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
I do like. Seems a bit rushed though. I would've figured the tension would have built a bit longer, but you did say you'd do some glossing. All the same, nicely done and ultimately a good climax to the chapter.
KiusLady Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah, I thought stretching it out more would just be gratuitous.
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